Drole de Rose (L'Artisan Parfumeur)

Olivia Giocobetti's 1996 fruity floral fragrance for women, poetically named Drole de Rose, is also Ms. Giocobetti's only bald-faced fruity floral creation. Oh, I suppose one could point a finger at D'Orsay's Tilleul and its melon note, but Tilleul isn't very floral, it's more of a green, spring-fling sorta thing. Malle's En Passant is quite a bit more floral than anything else, although one might argue it has little to no sweetness beyond soft, rounded lilac. Giocobetti has a simple soliflore in that scent. The same holds true for Hiris by Hermes, this time with the focus on iris and a few other flowers, but not a drop of fructose to be found. Honore des Pres' Bonte's Bloom is a straightforward floral.

L'Artisan's own Mandarine Tout Simplement is really just a mandarin scent, spruced up with some woods and perhaps the ghost of frangipani. Doesn't seem to have its heart in it. Maybe Le B by Agnis B comes close, although far more aquatic/musky than fruity floral. Remarkable how someone so talented and respected could successfully skirt all the current feminine department store trends and offer but one lone cliche. Sadly, this is what Drole de Rose is - a cliche, bottled at a premium. 

I'm an open-minded man who enjoys experimenting with gender norms in fragrance, and it's not beneath me to throw on a sweet floral with hints of fruit. But Drole de Rose is simply a sugary, lipsticky, neon-pink, abstract berry-infused rose and violet affair. It's not something I can connect with on any level. Which is frustrating, because it resembles a fragrance I can connect with: Paris by Yves Saint Laurent. The sharp sweetness of the violet is similar in both. 

Drole de Rose isn't a true rose soliflore, and this detracts from it. I don't know if the violet and sweet notes are meant to make the composition feel younger, or just "deeper," but whatever the desired effect is, it doesn't work. The fragrance just feels saccharine and unoriginal. A truly disappointing offering from this firm, particularly for lovers of rose soliflores. Stick with Paris if you want this sort of powdery sweetness. It's more classically composed, and not nearly as gauche.